The Bay of Silence (2020) is slightly thrilling and definitely suspenseful — it is a murder mystery, but at the same time, not a typical murder mystery since we know ‘the who’ and ‘the how’, but the mystery, instead, lies in ‘the why’. Director Paula van der Oest and screenwriter Caroline Goodall adapted The Bay of Silence from author Lisa St Aubin de Terán’s 1986 novel by the same name, bringing to life a dark but intriguing narrative tinged with psychological descent.
The Bay of Silence is as visually beautiful as its story is enthralling, its telling shots building a story about loss, depression, and in the end, revenge. With Paula van der Oest’s way of storytelling, a simple shot of the couple in bed can tell a thousand words about a troubled marriage, and at a lean hour and a half runtime, the pictures and framing do much of the legwork. The rest of the work of creating the mystery and bringing these familial ties to life was done by the film’s excellent cast, a group of veteran actors including Claes Bang (Netflix’s Dracula), Olga Kurylenko (the bond girl from Quantum of Solace, and Brian Cox.
In the movie, Will and Rosalind share a storybook courtship, culminating in a romantic proposal set at the Bay of Silence on the Italian riviera. After accepting his proposal, Rosalind soon becomes pregnant, and they decide to move her, her twin daughters, their nannies, and Will into a family home. Once their son is born, Will begins to see cracks in Rosalind’s psyche, such as catching her sleepwalking and hearing her talk about a missing baby. One day, Will returns home to find that Rosalind has taken everyone away to a house kept secret in her memories, launching Will on a frantic search to find them. Once he does, he makes one gruesome discovery after another on his journey to save his wife from both herself and her captor.
The film starts out as a romantic fairytale, with the cinematography awash in bright hues from sunny days of carefree optimism, but then within 15 minutes the story takes on a darker tone, and both the narrative and the coloring slowly go from bright to gray. Almost more heinous than a dead dog is a dead baby, and this heartbreaking plot point was not danced around but was still presented delicately. It is not necessarily a thriller ride and it probably could have done more with camera shots to capture the horror of living with schizophrenia, but it was suspenseful enough to keep one me on the edge of my seat, and its mystery unraveled into a slightly unexpected twist ending that is a credit to Caroline Goodall’s screenwriting.
The title doesn’t do this movie justice, it hardly takes place at the Bay of Silence and there is nothing silent about this movie. There are a few plot points that seem to fizzle out, such as the Becca character coming onto Will and the curiously unnecessary but prominent Lena nanny character, but besides these superfluous characters, The Bay of Silence is a well crafted, mystery that gave me a feeling of tumbling down a rabbit hole with beautiful shots of the United Kingdom seaside along the way. Distributed by Vertical Entertainment (Inheritance, He Never Died, and many more American indies), The Bay of Silence is due to be released on August 28th to U.S. audiences.
MOVIE RATING — 7.5 out of 10
|Bay of Silence|
|Runtime:||1hr. 30 Mins.|